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Monday, September 3, 2018

I don’t like Fortnite, AMA






Fortnite is an amazing game in many ways. It truly is a revolution. Not so much because of the gameplay itself, but more because of the technology and the revenue model. It’s a great tech demo for the Unreal engine, which makes it possible to play the game on virtually every platform you can think of. The game industry has tried to come up with all kind of consumer unfriendly ways to earn money in the past years and Fortnite is free to play. The rocket launch event was unprecedented and one of my favorite moments in a game ever.
But I also realize I’m not a part of its target audience. Or maybe not anymore. At least my friends and I are not among the group of people who spent an average of $85 on V-Bucks. If I look at usernames of people I play with, I see a lot of kids. Some players I came across were 9 years old. This is reflected in the real world. There are so many kids out there wearing Fortnite shirts.

Gameplay

So it’s not weird that Fortnite is tailored to its players and simply is a kids game. But on Twitch and YouTube it’s dominated by people who are older than me. It’s some kind of bubble, it’s not real. Sure, it’s fun to play for people of any age, but it lacks the depth of many other games. It has no skill-based shooting, since it has a “bloom” mechanic instead of controllable recoil. This keeps the game more accessible to casual players, but I grew up playing Call of Duty. Partly it’s my own fault, because I see Fortnite as a shooter while the real skill is in building and also because I can’t get nearly as many kills in Fortnite as I can in CoD, even though there are 99 others around me. I can’t redeem myself after a death right away. I either have to wait until my teammates win or die and go trough multiple loading screens, a pre-match lobby, a bus flight, flying to where I want to land and cooking dinner when the game decides I’m low enough to open my glider. There is a lot of waiting. You can understand it’s a big contrast with respawning in CoD. I wonder how CoD will handle this in their BR mode “Blackout”.

The map

Most solo matches I play, there are only around 30 people left when the first storm starts to close in on the circle. If I don’t land in a populated area I’m playing more of a harvesting game / walking simulator and essentially all the easy targets are already dead. There still is a huge group of people who land in Tilted Towers and die within the first 30 seconds of the match. It’s near the center of the map, so it’s always close to the bus route. Oh and I feel bad for the people responsible for the new desert area, because it’s beautiful, but not many people see it.



Weapons

Most weapons are fun, but feel really inconsistent. The rarity system doesn’t make any sense sometimes. Can’t one-shot through 100 health with a blue pump shotgun? Hmm, okay…
The meta also changes every couple of weeks, so it seems, but I haven’t really seen any new playstyles. People still ramp rush, build towers, but they use an SMG instead of a shotgun.

Grinding

Disclaimer: I never cared about cosmetics in any game. Unfortunately for me, that happens to be the only real reward in Fortnite, besides some dances. I spent $10 on the season 3 Battle Pass in March not because of the skins, but because of the extra weekly challenges to keep the game fun. The only skin that somewhat feels as a reward to me is the one you get for completing 7 weeks. In season 5, these challenges aren’t particularity.. challenging, however. Most of the things will happen at some point anyway. Camos in CoD, especially in MW2, seem to be a prestige symbol.

LTMs

When I started playing Fortnite, the Blitz LTM was added to the game. It still is one of my favorite modes, along with Steady Storm, and kind of ruined the normal modes for me, because both modes are faster paced and more action-packed. I don’t understand why Epic doesn’t make any mode permanent (apart from 50v50 and Playground, eventually). The player-base surely is big enough.
I have had a great time in Fortnite, despite of everything I mentioned. But I also can conclude this is not the BR game for me. It’s the most polished one I can play on my PS4 today (and I will keep playing it), but Blackout is around the corner and, if the rumors are true, even Red Dead Redemption 2 will have a similar mode. I hope the developers have done more than simply copy-paste the format to benefit from the hype and created something that is in line with the core mechanics of the their game.

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